Sounds ridiculous right? But that’s exactly what we say in our hearts when we wrestle with God about preserving ourselves, rather than yielding wholly to Him. We want His wisdom alright, but we don’t want to lose the ‘wisdom’ we already have. Rather than present a blank slate for God to impress His image, we say, “hold up, let me look for space for You” and give Him a small corner of our life!! What good will that do? God doesn’t want your leftovers! He doesn’t want half of you, and He won’t even bother with 99% of you either. He wants it all!
The Bible says a few things to this effect. Paul said, “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” (1 Cor 5:6, Gal 5:9). This means that, if there’s any trace of impurity (that is some of your self leftover), it will eventually corrupt any goodness that is brought in. Consider the bad potato at the bottom of the bag!! Jesus also said that: “no one puts new wine into old bottles (wine skins)” (Luke 5:37). He explained that the old wine skins have already been stretched to capacity from their previous intake, so that new wine has no room to expand in these skins and will end up spilling out as the skins inevitably burst!
You are the wine skin!! And you are old by everything you’ve ever been taught about religion and life. Jesus doesn’t want to throw you out, He wants to make you NEW! How so? He said that we must be born again (John 3:3)! Someone asked if it was possible to go back to their mother’s womb and be born again (v4), but Jesus explained that this was a different sort of birth. The first one was by water (the water breaks when the baby is ready to come out), and the second is by the Spirit (vs 5-6). When you are born again, by accepting Jesus and forsaking self, God pours His Spirit (new wine) into your new vessel (2 Cor 5:17).
Jesus said that you must die to be born again. He said, “unless a corn of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it will abide alone. But when it dies, it becomes alive again and fruitful” (John 12:24). He further said that if we hang on to our life, we will lose it! But if we give it up, we will gain it (Matt 16:25)! This is the paradox of self-denial. We learn it whenever we submit ourselves to discipline (like the athlete trains, and the model diets); we have to lose something to gain something. Jesus said we should lose our worldly lives, which we have no power to keep, to gain eternal life, which we cannot lose (John 12:25)!
All this sounds like old news to you, I’m sure. But there’s a practical relevance! I am not saying all this to show you what I know, but to drum home a simple point that we run away from daily! Simply, you can’t have your cake and eat it too!! You can’t be in Christ, and do your own thing. You can’t sit on the fence between the Kingdom of the World and the Kingdom of Heaven. You can’t serve two masters; not God and Money (Matt 6:24), nor God and self (or any other idol)! Jesus said He will spit out any such person (Rev 3:16)! Life is about making choices, and living under discipline. An undisciplined life is a wreck, and an unmastered soul is a loose canon! Who has mastery over you? Foolishness or Wisdom? You can’t have half measures of both. Anything short of 100% wisdom is foolishness! It is really God’s way or the highway!
When I first got the title of this article, I was musing on how foolish I had been. There I was letting Christ take control, and I was thinking, why didn’t I do this before?? I had been afraid of being controlled by God, of becoming some sort of religious nut and outcast, all the while I was a crazy fool!! Really, I was CRAZY and I was FOOLISH!! In my right mind, as I drove down the street, I realised the peace that comes with being possessed by God. In previous times, I was always in a mad rush, angry at every driver on the road and devoid of love and peace within. It was pride, our first and greatest enemy, at work. I thought I was such a good driver that I didn’t care to be Christian (or even considerate) behind the wheel. It was as though I was possessed. But I thank God for His mercies, and the soundness and liberty that comes with submitting to His Spirit.
Like the lady on a diet, who has lots of salad cream on her green salad, we all like to mix the good with the bad, as if a full dose of good would kill us! But Christ says we should put away all these bad habits! Deny ourselves (Matt 16:24). Forsake foolishness and receive His wisdom (Prov 23:23; Rev 3:18). No one will mix poison with their drink, because at the end of the day, the whole cocktail becomes poison!! What poison are you allowing to remain in you? Proverbs says, “pride goes before a fall” (Prov 16:18), and Paul admonished, “let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he falls” (1 Cor 10:12). Have you been justifying your own way because it has been working for you? Don’t be so foolish – your deeds will find you out (Num 32:23)! At the end of time, the quality of your works will be tried by fire and shown for what they are (1Cor 3:13). Submit to the Wisdom of Christ and put away foolishness today.
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